After reading the excellent The House by Paco Roca earlier this month, I looked up another book in which the author ruminates on the elderly and the passage of time.

Ernest is an elderly former bank manager, whose Alzheimer’s disease has become too much for his adult son and wife to handle, and is moved to a retirement home. His assigned roommate, Émile who is a scoundrel but good-hearted, shows him the ropes and he settles in well enough. In the weeks ahead Ernest meets the other residents, and they cope with the end of their lives in many different ways. Some retreat to the past, some become bitter and others try their best to make the best of their remaining days. Some of the stories are heartbreaking as dementia steals their minds, as you know Ernest is on that path already. The home’s workers are unsung heroes, and you will become angry at some family members’ inattentive care as they find any excuse not to visit regularly, while others bend over backward for their loved ones. While the story deals with a heavy subject, there is some whimsy built into the narration, and hopefully this story will make you think more critically about end-of-life care.

At times, I get on reading kicks on a certain subject, and my recent reads that include The House, Dancing at the Pity Party, and Ronan and the Endless Sea of Stars have been melancholy reads as they all deal with death and loss of family. But these subjects are my reality, as my husband and I have been in charge of caring for our parents and we have seen firsthand the challenge of life for the elderly as they lose control of their bodies, their minds and their finances. It is a very hard road for them and for their families, but maintaining their dignity is imperative. While society seems to take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach to our seniors, I believe we should be better equipped for a time of life that comes for most of us and this graphic novel poignantly shines a light on it.